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People rescue banner credit CSIFollowing severe flooding across Kerala, a southern state in India, the United Reformed Church has joined the Church of South India (CSI) and global ecumenical partners in appealing for prayers and support for the region.

Since the monsoon began in June, around 400 people have died, and thousands have been displaced and rendered homeless. The figures are expected to rise as many people are still reported missing.

The CSI Synod has reported that nearly three million people from 52,856 families have been rescued from various parts of the state and are being sheltered in 5,645 camps.

Read more: URC joins global call for prayer and relief for Kerala flood victims

Savid Javid credit Richter Frank Jurgen FlickrTwenty Church leaders have called for an end to the hostile environment in an open letter to the Sajid Javid MP, the Home Secretary.

The Revd Nigel Uden and Mr Derek Estill, United Reformed Church General Assembly Moderators, joined representatives from the Anglican, Catholic, Church of Scotland and Methodist Churches, who argue that the destitution deliberately inflicted by the government is ‘inhumane’ and leads to racial discrimination.

The hostile environment is a web of government policies designed to make life so difficult for people, who cannot prove they have the right to live in the UK, that they choose to leave.

Read more: Church leaders pen open letter to Home Secretary calling for end to hostile environment

children playingNew data revealed last week by an anti-poverty charity shows that there was an increase in demand for emergency food for children during the summer holidays last year.

The figures, published on Friday 3 August by the Trussell Trust, Britain’s largest foodbank network, show that the level of support needed for children was markedly higher during the summer months.

Between July and August 2017, the Trussell Trust’s nationwide network of more than 420 foodbanks provided 204,525 three-day emergency supplies, 74,011 of which went to children. In comparison, between May and June 2017, 70,510 supplies went to children.

Read more: Rise in emergency food for children during school summer holidays

HH Serving screen shotThe first in a series of short films that explores each theme in Andrew Roberts’ book, Holy Habits, has been released by the United Reformed Church.

Holy Habits, is one of the key resources for Walking the Way: Living the life of Jesus today, the URC’s focus on lifelong Christian discipleship and mission.

Directed by Kevin Snyman, Mission Enabler for West Midlands Synod, a film will be released each month featuring an introduction by Mr Roberts and showcasing real-life examples of how these habits are being explored across the denomination.

Read more: New film explores holy habit in action at Coventry Night Shelter

Phil and Bethan and crowd news bannerIt’s been nearly three weeks since the Revd Phil Wall, Minister of St David’s Uniting Church, in Pontypridd, and Bethan Walkling, daughter of the Revd Simon Walkling, Moderator of the National Synod of Wales, trekked across Wales to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS.

Having walked 180-miles between 7-17 July and with worn feet now rested, Mr Wall reflects on their achievement with a specially written poem. Here is an excerpt:

Read more: Duo complete trek across Wales to celebrate NHS’ 70 birthday